Nike Kiger 9 Review: Fast, Light AND Worth The Upgrade!

The Kiger 9 provides plush cushioning, aggressive traction, and a lightweight design, ideal for varied terrains. However, it might not cater to the 10%.


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The Key Specifications

  • Price: $150
  • Sizing and fit: True to size with a medium width fit.
  • Weight: 9.9 oz (280g) for a size US(M)9 (my pair).
  • Drop: 4.5mm.
  • Toe box width: Medium.
  • Stability: Supportive, thanks to the midfoot band.
  • Cushioning: React foam midsole with medium cushioning.
  • Best for: Technical terrain, and long trail runs.

Hey everyone, Alastair here from Trail and Kale and today I’m sharing my thoughts and an old favorite line of trail running shoes, in this Nike Kiger 9 review. Interesting point to start: it seems Nike has dropped ‘Terra‘ from the shoe’s name after nine versions.

I’m curious about the reason behind this decision—any insights? It’s probably due to the confusion that comes with long product names, but maybe there’s something else at play :). Feel free to share in the comments if you know why – but thought I’d throw that out there at the start incase you’re wondering why I’m calling them the Kiger 9 and not the ‘Terra Kiger 9’.

For those who caught my Nike Terra Kiger 8 review last year, you’ll remember how much I really enjoyed that version, despite some sizing issues that required going down a size. Nonetheless, it was an excellent shoe that I frequently raced in, both in Europe and the US. So, needless to say, I’m thrilled to be able to share my thoughts on the Kiger 9 because it’s an awesome shoe but in different ways.

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Let’s get into what makes Kiger 9 great, how it could be improved, and then I’ll finish off this review by sharing a final rating, with Pros and Cons for you to read over.

Who are the Nike Kiger 9 trail running shoes best suited to

So, who is the Kiger 9 designed for, or targeted at? Essentially, this shoe is an all-rounder in the trail running world. It’s notably lightweight, featuring an enhanced, sticky grip with improved lugs, and provides a comfortable fit with its soft, plush upper. If you watch my video review after reading this you’ll get a demo of me running downhill in them to get an idea of the traction.

The Kiger 9 is perfect for runners seeking to tackle varied terrains while staying closely connected to the path beneath them, thanks to its low stack height and minimal drop. I’d say it’s ideally suited for intermediate to advanced trail runners looking to conquer the trails, enjoy their runs across diverse terrains, and have a great time doing it.

Nike Kiger 9 VS Kiger 8

When comparing the Nike Terra Kiger 8 and the Kiger 9, it’s like stepping from one great chapter to another great one but very different. The Terra Kiger 8 had set a high bar with its responsive cushioning and reliable traction, making it a go-to for many of my races across diverse terrains in 2023.

However, the Kiger 9, while maintaining the essence of its predecessor, has subtly elevated the experience with its lighter weight and more aggressive grip, enhancing my runs on more technical trails.

The Kiger 9’s plush cushioning and nuanced design adjustments, like the more enveloping upper, added a fresh layer of comfort and protection, especially appreciated on longer runs. Yet, it wasn’t just about what was added; I noticed the absence of the Zoom unit, missing that extra bounce and responsiveness it brought to the trails.

Despite this, the Kiger 9 presents a compelling evolution, balancing new features with the core strengths of the Terra Kiger lineage.

Differences in Specifications:

  • Weight: The Kiger 9 is lighter, enhancing agility and efficiency on technical terrains.
  • Cushioning: React foam in the Kiger 9 offers a comfortable, medium cushioning suitable for long distances but doesn’t provide as good response.
  • Traction: The Kiger 9 features more aggressive lugs for improved grip on diverse terrains.
  • Upper Design: The Kiger 9 comes with a more cushioned and supportive upper, providing a better fit and comfort.
  • Breathability: The Kiger 9, despite its comforts, could improve in breathability for warmer conditions.

The features of the Nike Terra Kiger 9 that I really like

Delving into what makes the Kiger 9 stand out and areas ripe for improvement for the next iteration, the Kiger 10, let’s start with the highlights first.

The outsole immediately grabs attention with its significant enhancements over its predecessor.

The lugs are not only more aggressive and seem deeper but also possess a stickier feel.

Whether due to a new rubber compound or design tweaks, it’s a welcomed improvement, especially on steep ascents where traction is important for efficient climbing.

Another aspect I’m fond of is the comfort provided by the upper, It’s noticeably more cushioned, enveloping the foot in a soft embrace that enhances the overall fit and feel.

However, this does present a bit of a quandary for me, which I’ll touch on shortly. The design is thoughtful, from the gusseted, slim tongue that stays put thanks to a loop, to the added padding that prevents pressure from the laces above.

Durability also seems improved, and the inclusion of a subtle toe bumper, a feature perhaps borrowed from the Pegasus Trail 3 a couple of years ago, adds a nice touch.

The reduced weight compared to the Terra Kiger 8 is another major plus for me. The lighter build significantly improves efficiency on inclines and agility over technical terrain, maintaining a quick cadence with ease.

The Kiger 9 now weighs in at 9.9oz for a size US(M)9, where as the previous version was 10.4oz for the same size. This combination of features positions the Kiger 9 as a standout choice, likely appealing to intermediate and advanced runners for its adept handling of technical trails and overall enjoyable running experience.

Similar to my thoughts on the Nike Zegama, though each shoe has its own set of pros and cons, the Kiger 9’s design and performance nuances are particularly suited for runners seeking versatility and lightweight agility on the trails.

The Zegama on the other hand has a higher stack height that some will appreciate for longer, more comfortable miles but the traction and control is certainly not as good as on the Kiger 9.

➡ If you’re enjoying this review drop a comment down below, subscribe to our newsletter for more running shoe reviews just like this one, and if you’re familiar with these running shoes, let me know in the comments, I want to know what your thoughts are on them.

Features that I feel could be improved for the next release

Jumping into aspects ripe for enhancement in the upcoming Kiger 10, the upper warrants a discussion first.

While I do like it for its comfort and updates, its breathability under warmer conditions doesn’t quite measure up to previous models.

On a notably warm day here in Northern California, my feet felt overheated during climbs. This suggests a need for a more breathable material, especially for those whose feet tend to warm up quickly.

Opting for thinner socks might be a temporary fix, but ideally, the shoe’s breathability should be improved.

Next, let’s talk about the midsole – The removal of the Zoom unit, particularly under the forefoot, is a change I’m not overly fond of. That Zoom unit added a noticeable bounce and responsiveness, making runs on flat and downhill terrains more enjoyable.

The current midsole, while not bad, lacks the playful and responsive feel that the Zoom provided. My preference leans heavily towards Zoom in Nike’s midsoles for trail running, as it offers a superior experience on the trails.

Nike Kiger 9 review summary

Wrapping up this review of the Nike Kiger 9 then, the big question remains: is it worth the $150 investment?

Absolutely, they’re a solid investment for $150!

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed running in these shoes across a variety of terrains; including technical trails, steep ascents and descents, flats, mud, rocky paths, and through forests are just what I love and precisely how I test running shoes.

Running this diversity ensures I provide you with a well-rounded view on their performance across all possible conditions. So, from me, it’s a big thumbs up for the Nike Kiger 9.

Thanks so much for tuning into this review, If you found it helpful, don’t forget to drop a comment (we love it when you do that!), and I look forward to catching up with you in the next one!

Nike Kiger 9 review gallery

As the founder of Trail & Kale, and seasoned marathoner & ultrarunner, Alastair loves bringing our readers independent running shoe reviews and gear insights to help you run your best. Learn more about Trail & Kale here.


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